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Today in History

1848
First meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
1878
Author Upton Sinclair born in Baltimore, Maryland
1884
Equal Rights Party nominates Belva Lockwood for President
1885
Ragtime jazz musician, pianist Jelly Roll Morton born in New Orleans, Louisiana
1927
Psychologist, author and advice columnist, Dr Joyce Brothers born in New York City
1934
Academy Award winning actress, Sophia Loren born Sofia Villani Scicolone in Naples, Italy
1954
Harlan Herrick runs first FORTRAN program
1968
Grammy Award winning singer and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Will Smith born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
480
BC
Themistocles and his Greek fleet win one of history's first decisive naval victories over Xerxes' Persian force off Salamis
451
Romans victorious over Attila the Hun
622
Muhammad changes the name of Yathrib to Medina
833
Caliph Mu'tasim enters Baghdad
1069
Occupation of York by rebels against King William I
1187
Saladin lays siege to Jerusalem
1258
Consecration of Salisbury Cathedral, England
1276
Coronation of Pope John XXI (there was no John XX)
1378
The election of Robert of Geneva as anti-pope by discontented cardinals creates a great schism in the Catholic church. It was touched off when Gregory XI died, shortly after returning the papal seat from Avignon, in France, to Rome. Continuing for nearly 40 years (until 1417), the Schism at one point produced three concurrent popes!
1384
Death of Louis I, King of Naples and Duke of Anjou
1414
The Emperor of China receives a giraffe in tribute from Bengal, India
1440
Founding of Eton College
1519
Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain on a voyage to find a western passage to the Spice Islands in Indonesia. (Magellan was killed enroute, but one of his ships eventually circumnavigated the world.)
1561
Queen Elizabeth of England signs a treaty at Hamptan Court with French Huguenot leader Louis de Bourbon, the Prince of Conde.
1565
Pedro Menendez of Spain wipes out the French at Fort Caroline, in Florida.
1593
Composer Gottfried Scheidt born
1604
After a two-year siege, the Spanish retake Ostend, the Netherlands, from the Dutch.
1653
Composer Benedict Schultheiss born
1663
Composer Pirro Conte d' Albergati Capacelli born
1665
Vicar Johannes van der Hagen, genealogist and chronologer born
1706
Composer Franz Habermann born
1744
Master builder Giacomo Quarenghi (Hermitage Theater) born
1767
Composer Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia born
1771
Scotish explorer Mungo Park (Africa) born
1784
Packet and Daily, the first daily publication in America, appears on the streets.
1791
Russian writer Sergei T Aksakov (Semejnaja chronika) born
1795
Physician and author Peter of Limburg Brouwer born
1797
US frigate "Constitution" (Old Ironsides) launched in Boston.
1806
Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark pass the French village of La Charette, the first white settlement they have seen in more than two years.
1823
Daniel Steibelt who wrote the first choral piano concerto died. A friend in St. Petersburg eulogized him as a kleptomaniac.
1830
The National Negro Convention convenes in Philadelphia with the purpose of abolishing slavery.
1842
Physician Lord James Dewar, who invented the vacuum flask and cordite. born
1848
Brigham Young arrives at Salt Lake City with a wave of Mormon followers.
1859
Patent granted on the electric range.
1870
Italian troops took control of the Papal States, leading to the unification of Italy.
1873
Financial chaos forced the New York Stock Exchange to close. It remained closed for 10 days.
1878
Novelist Upton Sinclair, (The Jungle) born
1881
Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding James A. Garfield, who had been assassinated.
1883
Albrecht Alt, German Lutheran Old Testament scholar. born
1884
The Equal Rights Party was formed during a convention of suffragists in San Francisco. The convention nominated Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood of Washington DC for president.
1885
Jazz piano player Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton born
1886
Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny, who pioneered the care of polio victims born
1899
Actor Elliott Nugent (Romance, The Unholy Three; director Up in Arms, Welcome Stranger) born
1917
Boston Celtics President Red Auerbach (second winningest basketball coach in history with 1,037 victories for the Boston Celtics) born
1918
Actress Peg Phillips born
1921
On this day, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, started one of the first daily radio newscasts in the country. The broadcast came from the city desk of "The Pittsburgh Post".
1924
Singer Gogi Grant born
1924
Fashion designer James Galanos born
1927
Actress Rachel Roberts (The Tony Randall Show) born
1928
Psychologist Joyce Brothers born
1929
Actress-comedian Anne Meara the Family, Rhoda, The Paul Lynde Show, The Corner Bar, Alf) born
1934
Actress Sophia (Sofia Scicolone) Loren (some sources say 1931) born
1947
Rock musician Chuck Panozzo (Styx) born
1951
Former hockey player Guy LaFleur born
1953
Jimmy Stewart debuted in "The Six Shooter" on NBC.this He played Britt Ponset on the radio western.
1954
Jazz musician Peter White born
1955
Actress Betsy Brantley born
1957
Actor Gary Cole born
1957
Jan Sibelius died at his home on a little island on the Finnish coast. Although he had produced seven symphonies and numerous other orchestral works, Sibelius had composed virtually nothing for the last 33 years of his life.
1958
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded at a New York City department store when an apparently deranged black woman stabbed him in the chest.
1962
Black student James Meredith was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Governor Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)
1963
In a speech to the U-N General Assembly, President Kennedy proposed a joint US-Soviet expedition to the moon.
1964
Actor Crispin Glover born
1966
Britain's Queen Elizabeth launched the Cunard liner QE II, now the only remaining ocean liner on the formerly thriving trans-Atlantic route.
1967
Actress Kristen Johnston ("3rd Rock From the Sun") born
1967
Rock singers Matthew Nelson and Gunnar Nelson born
1968
Rock musician Ben Shepherd (formerly with Soundgarden) born
1969
"Sugar, Sugar", by the the Archies, hit number one in "Billboard." The Archies stayed at the top for four weeks.
1972
The comedy-drama series M*A*S*H premiered on CBS-TV.
1973
Singer, Jim Croce, his lead guitarist, Maury Muehleisen and four others died when their plane crashed into a tree while taking off for a concert in Sherman, Texas.
1973
In their so-called "battle of the sexes," tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome. Howard Cosell was the announcer.
1976
NASA publicly unveiled the space shuttle "Enterprise" at ceremonies in Palmdale, California.
1977
The first wave of Southeast Asian "boat people" arrived in San Francisco under a new US resettlement program.
1979
Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the self-styled head of the Central African Empire, was overthrown in a French-supported coup while on a visit to Libya.
1980
Former Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza was assassinated in Paraguay.
1982
President Ronald Reagan announced the United States, France and Italy had agreed to send peacekeeping forces back to Beirut to help Lebanon maintain order following the massacre of Palestinian refugees.
1983
After a week of negotiations, President Reagan and congressional leaders reached a compromise authorizing the 1,200 U.S. Marines in Lebanon to remain on their peacekeeping mission for 18 more months.
1984
Progressive Conservative leader Brian Mulroney took office as Canada's 18th prime minister, succeeding John N. Turner of the Liberal Party.
1984
A suicide car bomber attacked the US Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing twelve people.
1984
"The Cosby Show" premiered on NBC.
1986
Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze reported progress after talks in Washington on preparations for a second summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
1987
Pope John Paul the Second concluded an eleven-day visit to North America as he celebrated Mass for thousands of Indians at Fort Simpson in Canada's Northwest Territories.
1988
U.S. swimmer Greg Louganis took the gold medal in three-meter springboard diving at the Seoul Olympics. He'd hit his head on the springboard during preliminary competition.
1988
The 43rd General Assembly opened at the United Nations.
1989
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev pulled off a major shake-up of the Soviet Communist Party, dropping three Politburo members in a dramatic consolidation of power.
1989
F.W. de Klerk was sworn in as president of South Africa.
1990
Demanding equal time, Iraq asked US networks to broadcast a message by President Saddam Hussein in response to President Bush's videotaped address to the Iraqi people.
1991
U.N. weapons inspectors left Bahrain for Iraq to renew their search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
1991
On Capitol Hill, Senate hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court concluded.
1992
Leanza Cornett of Florida was crowned "Miss America" in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1992
French voters narrowly approved the Maastricht Treaty on European union.
1992
The space shuttle "Endeavour" landed at the Kennedy Space Center.
1993
QVC Network Incorporated proposed a $9.5 billion stock and cash merger with Paramount Communications Incorporated; however, Viacom eventually won the battle to acquire Paramount.
1994
Space shuttle Discovery and its six astronauts landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California after an 11-day mission.
1995
In a move that stunned Wall Street, AT&T Corp. announced it was splitting into three companies.
1995
Bosnian Serb rebels pulled back enough heavy weapons from around Sarajevo to keep NATO airstrikes at bay.
1995
The House voted to drop the national speed limit and let states decide how fast people should drive.
1996
President Clinton announced his signing of a bill outlawing homosexual marriages, but said it should not be used as an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against gays and lesbians. (The actual signing came a little after midnight.)
1997
President Clinton's attorneys insisted no laws were broken as it ws disclosed that Attorney General Janet Reno had taken a first step toward seeking a special prosecutor to investigate the president's 1996 fund-raising activities.
1998
Muriel Humphrey Brown, widow of Vice President Hubert Humphrey and his brief successor in the US Senate, died in Minneapolis at age 86.
1998
After two-thousand-632 consecutive games, Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles sat out a game against the New York Yankees, ending a 16-year run.
1999
Lawrence Russell Brewer became the second white supremacist to be convicted in the dragging death of James Byrd Junior in Jasper, Texas. (Brewer was later sentenced to death.)
1999
Raisa Gorbachev, wife of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died after a battle with leukemia; she was 67.
1999
Heavily armed international peacekeepers landed in East Timor, clearing the way for the rest of a UN-approved force charged with restoring order.
2005
Basra, Iraq raid by UK forces to rescue soldiers from police
2005
US clinic plans first face transplant
2005
Lightning storm moves through Southern California
2005
Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal dead at 96
2005
Opera Internet browser goes ad-free
2005
IDG cancels Macworld Boston
2005
AOL to launch VoIP service
2005
NYPD shuts down anti-war speech due to absence of permit
2005
US Federal Reserve lifts interest rates
2005
Sprint/RealNetworks to provide cell phone Internet radio and podcasts in US
2005
Vatican denies church is shielding war criminal
2005
London bombers rehearsed attacks
2006
Newfoundland supporters of Craig Sharpe feel cheated on
2006
Four suspects arrested for assault on Oslo synagogue
2006
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party chooses Abe
2006
Riots in Hungary as PM 'lies'
2006
World Wars lowered New Zealanders life expectancy
2006
UN General Assembly opens with rhetorical appeals by both Bush and Ahmadinejad
2006
Study reveals mercury contamination throughout US food chain
2006
Barbara Walters to interview Terri Irwin
2006
Two Canadian Liberal leadership candidates have not donated to party
2006
Richard Hammond injured in jet-powered car crash
2006
Cricket: India beats the West Indies by 16 runs
2007
Meteorite blamed for mysterious illness in Peru
2007
ICC World Twenty20: Australia vs Sri Lanka
2007
Supporters of Canadian youth held in Guantanamo gather, demand action
2007
Taiwan Sports Affairs Council hopes cancer patients finish 123KM bicycle riding challenge at Eastern Taiwan
2007
ICC World Twenty20: Bangladesh vs Pakistan
2007
Bluetongue outbreak in Germany
2007
Brooklyn Book Festival showcases borough's continued literary tradition
2007
ICC World Twenty20: South Africa vs India
2007
10-year-old boy missing after car gets carjacked
2007
O.J. Simpson returns home; girlfriend says he's "fine"
2007
Court decision means Floyd Landis loses Tour de France title
2007
Canadian dollar reaches parity with US dollar
2007
Type O Negative announce US tour details; Lordi supporting
2007
Nigerian "free puppy" scam revealed on the internet
2007
Flooding in Slovenia leaves six dead
2007
Fears grow about U.S. dollar stability
2007
Barrister Hyman sentenced to one year imprisonment for false incrimination
2007
American evangelist claims copyright on public domain videos
2007
Rugby World Cup: Wales 72 - 18 Japan
2008
Marriott Hotel in Islamabad bombed
2008
Scientists to study near-death experiences
2008
United Nations requests US$700 million in aid for East Africa to avoid famine
2008
No evidence of engine fire at Aeroflot-Nord Flight 821 crash site
2008
'Buried' video surfaces of police making mass arrests during the Republican National Convention
2008
15 killed, 30 injured attempting to steal fuel from train in India
2008
Alaskan Governor and Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's email account hacked
2008
Website of Bill O'Reilly, FOX News commentator, hacked in retribution
2008
Indonesian parliament approves privatising of three major state firms
2008
False cancer cure claims lead to federal charges against five US companies
2008
South African President Thabo Mbeki agrees to resign
2009
Muslim cleric, two officers killed after gun attacks in southern Russia
2009
Memorial unveiled to mark 50th anniversary of deaths of 47 miners in Lanarkshire, Scotland
2009
Australian rules football: West Gippsland Latrobe Football League Grand Final
2009
Two people killed in aircraft crash in Hampshire, England
2010
Pope Benedict XVI departs from UK
2010
Emma's Imagination declared winner of UK's 'Must Be The Music'
2010
UK animal welfare group prosecutes woman who threw cat into bin
2010
Shooting in German hospital, four killed
2010
'Handkerchiefs in the air': Bicentennial celebrations in Pichilemu, Chile
2010
Leonard Skinner, namesake of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, dies at age 77
2010
Deepwater Horizon oil well finally dead, authorities say
2010
Thirty die in car accidents during Bicentennial of Chile celebrations
2010
Iconic London mural could be restored
2010
Australian rules football: Maffra win Gippsland Football League grand final
2010
Greenpeace demands Chilean President create marine parks

In the early days of Unix, a date-tagged list of historical events was used by system administrators to add some interest to the system's Message of the Day. Whenever users logged in they would be presented with the latest system notices, perhaps some mildly amusing quotes and one or two lines of historical events, based on the current date.

Today in History (UNIX calendar) uses some of the entries from the original library but is updated with current events as well. Instead of plain text, each entry is now formatted in HTML and each day may include one or more icons of historical figures or celebrities.

Other things unique to the UNIX calendar are references to dates found in fictional literature such as Lord of the Rings, perhaps undue emphasis on people and events that were part of popular culture in the 70's and technical minutiae about computers and operating systems that might not be found in other places.

In association with Amazon, this symbol is a link to related products at amazon.com. Any proceeds resulting from the sales of these products are used to defray the cost of maintaining the Today in History site and editorial efforts.

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